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Susan Lewis interviewed in Grab The Lapels

 

Meet the Writer: Susan Lewis

I want to thank Susan Lewis for answering my questions. She is the author of several books, including This Visit and How to Be Another.

Do you recall how your interest in writing originated?

I’ve always been a voracious reader. When I was seven years old, I read a collection of haiku by Basho. I was entranced, and became passionate about writing Japanese forms. I went on, as a child and adolescent, to write all kinds of poetry, as well as short stories and plays.

How have you developed creatively since then?

I still consider my writing identity a work in progress, and I suspect I always will! After high school, I didn’t write at all for a number of years. When I turned back to it, I wrote short fiction, which is what I worked on for my MFA. Later, I tried my hand at writing a novel. Only after that did I return to my first love, poetry. Over time my poetry has moved from more-or-less traditional free verse lyric to prose and lineated poems that are more fragmented and narratively unmoored. That said, I still write some prose poems that resemble surrealistic parables or fables.

Read the whole interview here

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Kristina Marie Darling interviewed at Blotterature

 

AN INTERVIEW WITH KRISTINA MARIE DARLING

Blotterature was excited when Kristina Marie Darling sent her collection, The Arctic Circle, our way for a review. We see her work widely published in the small press and admire her dedication to her craft–especially when taking risks. In her interview below, Kristina displays her positive attitude–a quality we all can admire.  And we can’t forget to mention that she has the coolest name. Hope you enjoy!

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Blotterature has a strong connection to our place – industrialized Northwest Indiana – and it is reflective in our writing. Tell us where you are and how your place fits into your art. 

That’s a great question. I lived for three years in Buffalo, New York and the snow-covered landscape appears quite frequently in my poems. I’m very interested in the ways that poetry can explore the relationship between one’s inner experience and one’s surroundings, since the two are often inextricable. In many of my poems, the speaker’s innermost thoughts and emotions are projected onto the landscape, ultimately shaping how the reader sees and experiences that particular place. My most recent collection, The Arctic Circle, takes this idea to the extreme, suggesting that an ice-covered landscape houses not only frozen vegetables, but also, frozen hearts and frozen wives.

Who/What has impacted your work the most and how does that come through?

More than anything, my work has been impacted by my experience as a woman in academia. Most people associate academic prose with strict rules, and stricter genre categories. In my creative practice, I work with a variety of prose forms, including prose poems, flash fictions, footnotes, glossaries, and endnotes. I frequently fill these somewhat unexciting prose forms with subversive and unexpected content. By doing so, I hope to show the reader that anything is possible within a literary text, so one should never impose limitations on a piece of writing on the basis of its form or appearance on the printed page.

How do you generate new ideas for your work?

When I have writer’s block, the best thing for me to do is read everything I can get my hands on. I read poetry and hybrid pieces, but also work that would never appear on the syllabus of a poetry workshop. After all, writing itself is just one more way of grappling with the literary and cultural tradition(s) that we have inherited. For me, it’s impossible to write if I don’t have something to engage or respond to.

When have you been most satisfied with your work?

I’m most satisfied with my work when it initiates dialogue between writers, reviewers, or even visual artists and composers. The best part of being a writer is being part of a community, so I’m always excited to see responses to my poetry, whatever form they may take. I was thrilled when Dale Trumbore, a fabulously talented composer, set some of my footnote poems to music. And recently, I participated in an installation project, where my poem was sewn onto a kite. All of art is a conversation, so it’s impossible for me to work (and feel fulfilled in my work) in isolation.

How do you know when a piece is finished?

That’s something that every artist struggles with, I think! In my own practice, I know when a piece is finished after I’ve lived with it for awhile, and I can read it without thinking of revisions, edits, and other things that I would do differently if given the chance.

What has been your biggest failure and what − if any − lessons were learned?

I published my work too soon. While many writers would constantly reprimand themselves for publishing something before it was ready, I choose not to feel bad about it at all. I’m grateful that those editors took a chance on my work, and I’m thankful that those journals helped my work find readers. In many ways, what some writers would consider a failure or a lapse in judgment has taught me the importance of gratitude in any writer’s practice.

Read the whole Interview here 

Check out Arctic Circle here 

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This Visit by Susan Lewis reviewed at Red Paint Hill

 

A Glimpse into our Alien World:  Susan Lewis and This Visit

 Susan Lewis
This Visit

BlazeVOX [books]
Buffalo, NY
© 2014
ISBN:  978-1-60964-169-6

 PURCHASE

Astonishment. Astonishment and an extensive exploration of language through the masterful use of rhyme and alliteration makes Susan Lewis’ eighth poetry collection This Visit both a tremendously enjoyable and challenging book to read. When her speakers demand, “Admit you would play dead. / Permit me to seed red // lest we strut and preen / & prophecy . . .” (15), the audience pays attention, if only for the beautiful arrangement. But there is much more to this volume than music and word play. The poet’s 857 couplets provide the reader with tantalizing clues as how we interact with each other and the surrounding world.

            The basic, in fact the only, unit of construction in This Visit is the couplet, appearing occasionally in variant forms. This fact raises significant questions for several reasons, not the least of which is what or whom do these constructs represent? Chromosomes? Noah’s menagerie? Lovers? Pilot/co-pilot? Mentor/protégé? Whatever the case, Lewis ensures the poems reflect two viewpoints:  incisive, cogent, sometimes contradictory, and always worth hearing.

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A whole lot of good news from Kristina Marie Darling

This is a whole lot of trending for Kristina Marie Darling. She is this weeks blogger at the Best American Poetry website and we’ll be posting her articles all week long. Here is the first:

 

February 02, 2015

 

Formal Innovation & Textual Rupture: A Conversation Between Kristina Marie Darling & Tony Trigilio [by Kristina Marie Darling]

 

Kristina Marie Darling:  Your new book, The Complete Dark Shadows (of My Childhood), Book 1, offers readers an extended engagement with 1960s mass culture, exploring the myriad ways that television and radio shape the individual consciousness.  This idea that culture determines what is possible within thought, and within the human mind, is gracefully enacted in the content of the poems, which appear as pristine couplets.  I'm intrigued, though, by moments when the form is broken, and the poems deviate from the pattern that has been established.  As the writer, how do you know when a form should be broken?  What does breaking form make possible within the content of your work?

 

Tony Trigilio:  Thanks so much for your detailed reading of the book.  My hope is that, as you mentioned, readers can identify with the ways mass media and individual consciousness shape each other in the book.  As I get deeper into Vol. 2 of the Dark Shadows project (about half-finished with the second volume now), I gain a deeper appreciation of mass media's roots in the verb "to mediate."  I realize the connection is obvious: but it's one thing to experience media/mediation intellectually, and an entirely different thing to experience it psychically and viscerally.  Like all of us, the development of my own psyche was mediated by electronic communication—for me, it was television and radio, and for folks growing up now, it's digital media.  It just so happens that the mediating force for me was a kitschy vampire and all the nightmares he caused me (though I was way too young to understand he was kitschy).  As scary as the continual nightmares were, they did introduce me to the power of dream and to the idea that dream-reality is as vital and real as waking-reality. 

 

Read the whole interview here: http://blog.bestamericanpoetry.com/the_best_american_poetry/2015/02/formal-innovation-textual-rupture-a-conversation-between-kristina-marie-darling-tony-trigilio-by-kri.html

 

 

A review and interview about Scorched Altar in Up the Staircase Quarterly.

 

Review:  http://www.upthestaircase.org/scorched-altar.html

 

Interview:  http://www.upthestaircase.org/interview-with-kristina-marie-darling.html

 

 

And finally here is new interview at Rob McClennan's Blog: 

 

http://www.robmclennan.blogspot.ca/2015/02/12-or-20-second-series-questions-with.html

 

 

Hurray! 

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Review of Eileen R. Tabios’ Footnotes to Algebra: Uncollected Poems 1995-2009 By Thomas Fink

Review of Eileen R. Tabios’ Footnotes to Algebra: Uncollected Poems 1995-2009

By Thomas Fink

Footnotes to Algebra by Eileen R. Tabios
Every poem and every collection of an author can be seen as a Footnote to Algebra, gesturing toward the elusive algebraic equation that could somehow represent the totality of a poet’s oeuvre. However, Eileen R. Tabios has a more intricate explanation in her blog, The Blind Chatelaine’s Keys, on Aug. 14, 2009 as she discusses Footnotes to Algebra: Uncollected Poems 1995-2009 (Kenmore, NY: BlazeVOX Books, 2009):

To collect a bunch of uncollected poems is, in a manner of speaking, another test of whether a poet has, as a saying might say, done it right. Does a collection hold together under the random manner in which it was formed? I always suspected that if Poetry is inherently a matter of interconnections (what we Pinoys also call pakikiramdam and what I lately have been calling algebraic as a result of three months of tutoring a 13-year-old boy in four years worth of math), such a book can hold together—also recall Gertrude Stein’s observation (I paraphrase) about how a word arbitrarily placed next to another word will rub together for some unexpected frisson if not generate some meaning. Many poets have written under such an inspiration—it’s not that ambitious, I thought, to create a book on that basis, too.

What the poet does not tell us is that there are section-headings, and these signposts not only echo concerns in Tabios’ earlier work but create—as Charles Bernstein characterized his 2001 book, With Strings—a “modular structure,” in which “a string of interchanging parts” inform “the book as a whole”: “Political, social, ethical, and textual investigations intermingle, presenting a linguistic echo chamber in which themes, moods, and perceptions are permuted, modulated, reverberated, and further extended” (131). While the first section, “New Poems,” which I take to mean poems that have not appeared in magazines, is an arbitrary ordering device, the next two sections, “Triptych for Philip” [Lamantia] and “Chant for Kari” [Edwards], are elegies for poet-friends, and other parts involve postcolonial (or in Tabios’ formulation, transcolonial) thinking (“A Filipino Accent”), poetry involving wine (“Wine Country Honeymoon”), poetry taking its beginning intention from visual art (“Ekphrasis”), and a lyrical series inspired by the work of Jose Garcia Villa (“Girl, Singing”). Yes, “poetry” may be “inherently a matter of interconnections,” but the principle of “a word arbitrarily place next to another” is not going to guarantee the collection of generative interconnections; the poet needs to have written the poems carefully and then to have thought vigorously enough to establish effective groupings. And she did.

Read the whole review here 

Check out Footnotes to Algebra Here 

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